A Binding of Old Tibet With All the Mystery And Magic


There was a time when Westerners thought Tibet was a place of dark brooding magic, secret ascended Masters, and lost ancient mystery alive with dark possibility. When the German seeker T. Illion travelled there in the 1930’s this was certainly the case. So…. when commissioned to bind a 1st English edition of this work I had to ask  myself how I could portray Tibet as he writes it, i.e. brooding and brimming with suggestive darkness and mystery. I chose to create something that plays off of the many portrayals of skulls in Tibetan religious iconography and costuming, add hand hammered piece of metal sculpture which are still a mainstay of Tibetan craft, and place it all over a dark blue dyed leather which is reminiscent of the blue faces of certain Tibetan deities and demons.

The Skull piece is not entirely Tibetan in design and there are clearly western classical elements in the binding. When I thought about a German approach to Tibet in the 1930’s this is what my mind produced. I wanted the metal piece to feel a bit like a Tibetan osuary piece or religious trinket that had been brought back with Illion on his travels and incorporated into the binding. I have a new appreciation for the artisans of Tibet or Nepal who make the actual metal pieces ubiquitous in Tibetan religious practice. I started with flat unblemished pieces of copper and brass and hammered, cut, hammered some more, cut again, and hammered and hammered and hammered,  and finally polished them to the shapes you see on the book. It was not easy by any means and I resorted to using electric tools in the end to achieve the right polish. I can’t image the time it takes for fine religious ornaments to be made in Tibet- ornaments we often take for granted when we see them at a stall in an international market.

” The first authentic and fully detailed account of an underground city in Tibet
by the only Westerner ever to visit there and come back alive to tell about
it… While traveling in disguise in Tibet in the early 1930’s, Illion made some
chance acquaintances which led to the contacts with an occult fraternity and an
invitation to visit the underground city. There he had some truly remarkable
experiences, which are recorded in this book. His previous book, In Secret Tibet
…….recounts meeting with wise hermits.
“This book,” he says, “supplements In Secret Tibet showing a different side of
the picture, a few Demons of the Light, and many Demons of the Shadows.” The
German traveler Ilion was one of the first travelers to penetrate Tibet while it
was still sealed off from the outside world. “(Current Reprint Publisher Adventures Unlimited)

Below one can see actual Tibetan artifacts and int he center my hand wrought book sculpture.

Darkness Over Tibet